Facebook writer’s groups sound great. There’s a reason they’re a dime a dozen, after all. In theory, they’re a great place to share thoughts on story structure, ask grammar questions, or pick up tips about marketing and publicity.
They sound great.
Unfortunately, far too many are absolutely useless.
While a handful are great–I’m part of at least one that is made up of a fairly close-knit group of writers that falls into that category–most are absolute crap in my opinion.
It’s simple. Far too many of those groups aren’t really about writing. Instead, they’ve morphed into authors promoting their books to other authors. The idea is that indies should support each other, and I can kind of get that, but only to a point.
If there are 100,000 indie authors on Amazon, you may be thinking that’s plenty of potential customers, but think a bit about those authors. How many are into regency romance, but not heroic fantasy? Every reader tends to have genres they prefer. This is also true of writers. For example, I’m not particularly intrigued by romances, though I do plan on reading some written by a particular friend, but that’s because I know how his (yes, his) mind works and I know it won’t be the typical bodice ripper.
My point, however, is that writers have preferred genres and that means unless you write a genre they like, they won’t buy your book. It’s OK though, because you aren’t likely to buy theirs either, and for the same reason.
That now drops you down to the few thousand in your genre. Do you really want to live off of that?
Not only that but how many of those writers are actually looking for stuff to read?
Many authors have “To Be Read” piles big enough to qualify as one of the Wonders of the World. Others don’t read much fiction anymore because they are reading stuff for research on their novels. They’re not necessarily looking for your book.
Even those like myself who do still read a lot of fiction and don’t have tremendous piles waiting to read aren’t good candidates for your marketing efforts. After all, most writers are holding down 9-5 jobs, which means their reading time and writing time occupy the same space. What do you think most writers are going to do?
That’s not to say you’ll never sell a book in one of these groups. Sure you will. A few of them, actually. In fact, it’s just enough that some will think this is a workable strategy.
What it does is turn many of these supposed writer’s groups into annoying Hellmouth’s of Facebook, with nothing but promotion and no actual discussion of the craft of writing taking place.
Yes, you can still post a question, but will anyone see it beneath the avalanche of promotion these groups become? No. I’ve found remarkably few people actually pay any attention to much in the group.
If you’re happy netting a couple dozen sales that way, then more power to you. Personally, I’m hunting bigger game.